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Hi,

I replaced the concrete ballast with lead in a much smaller boat and here is what I did. I still have the boat and the change was a real improvement. I did a few other things, too.

The boat is a Rhodes 22. it has a centerboard / shoal keel. I was "playing" at re building this boat and gutted the interior. Replaced the bulkhead that supported the deck mounted mast with a SS compression post that I fastened to the new lead ballast in the shoal keel. The former concrete ballast was encapsulated, I am guessing poured in from the top. I opened it from both the top and the sides. I demolished the concrete and replaced it with lead bars I cast myself. I had been given the keel from a salvaged Stonehorse and had plenty of lead. I used 4" angle iron to make a mold that was approximately as long as the space where the concrete had originally been. I simply cut the angle iron to length and welded square a plate on each end. This gave my mold ends that allowed it to sit level. My biggest problem was cutting chunks of lead from the keel that would fit into the mold. CAUTION! Handling and heating lead exposes you to a very toxic environment so read up on safety precautions and protect yourself properly. This was a real DIY project. I heated the lead in the mold and added pieces until the mold was full. I used a propane heater like the ones you can buy to flame the weeds along your driveway. It was enclosed in some bricks and I did all of this outside well away from any sources of ignition. I don't remember how many of these triangular ingots I made but they stacked very tightly in the space I had created in the keel. I did do some rough calculations and figured that the old concrete plus the stuff I had gutted from the interior of the boat equaled the weight of the lead I added. As I placed the ingots in the keel I set them in an epoxy / micro balloon paste.

The boat is still in use today. Its pretense of being some kind of pocket cruiser is gone now. I retained the V- birth. I also added a layer of 1/2" Airex to the inside of the hull to 6" above the waterline and pumped two part marine foam into every nook I could find. I reinforced the hull/ deck joint by glassing it with an 8" triax tape in epoxy and ss bolts.

This is an interesting boat. It has a flared hull to give it deck space for the standing rig. It is very dry. It is really a dinghy that was stretched. I sail it in the very strong currents of Passamaquoddy Bay and the waters around Eastport, ME. With no deep keel and lots of low ballast it copes with the currents very well. I added the Airex after hitting a submerged RR tie one beautiful September evening.

The lead replacement went well. I did not have to cope with keel bolts since the skin of shallow keel was part of the hull.

Good luck
 
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